What, Exactly, Are Big Girl Panties?

Sometimes when I’m out to lunch with my dad, he’ll say something along the lines of: “yeez, Heather … you should probably stop woofing down those french fries like there’s no tomorrow, or you’ll have to upgrade to big girl panties.” The oddity that is our father-daughter repertoire aside, I always think of this when I hear someone say “time to put on your big girl panties.”

Of course when people say that, they don’t mean you’re getting a little hefty around the backside. Well maybe they do, but for all intents and purposes we’ll assume that what they really mean is: it’s time to act like a big kid. They mean that it’s time for you to grow up. For you to make a decision you don’t want to make. Follow through with an action you don’t want to do. It means that you need to make a sacrifice, be an adult, and act your age.

And it means the big R. Responsibility.

I can think of  a few examples in recent memory that I wore my big girl panties.


in the grocery store parking lot

Yesterday, in the grocery store parking lot, a skirmish unfolded and I was confronted with the need to hitch up my big girl panties and move along quietly. A woman parked next to us as we were getting out to walk into the store, and she therefore was walking in about the same general area as us from car-to-grocery. As we all crossed the lot to the store, a car pulled up very quickly and started honking, the driver yelling “hurry up!!” Rude, I know, but having the Pookies in tow meant I needed to keep it down to set a good example.

“Some people are in such a hurry,” I said calmly as we finished walking into the store, but then the woman that had parked next to us turned around and started screaming at the car. “Bite me you son of a bitch!” she screamed, causing everyone in the parking lot to turn and look. Inside she was my personal hero; outside she really needed to pull up her big girl panties and move on.

Last Friday, over text message with my Trailer Trash Mom

I invited my mother over for dinner over the weekend and she accepted. I know what you all are thinking: I was being too kind. I was, but then I really wanted to get more dirt on what is going on with her Hillbilly Husband/New Mexico trailer-drama. What can I say, I like a good story. So she told me she’d let me know which day worked better with my grandparents’ schedule and then I didn’t hear from her for a few days.

Friday I texted her and said: “Hey, I just went and got all the food for dinner. Do you know whether Saturday or Sunday will work best yet?” and she responded that they were invited to a family tailgate party for the UCLA-Nebraska game, and had decided to (a) extend it into a whole-weekend-family-affair, that I was (b) excluded from on account of the fact that I don’t like either team. This is how that family usually rolls, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like my mom, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal. It was still rude that she handled it like that, though, and if I were to let it get to me I probably would have said something nasty. But did I get upset, and scream and cry about it? No. I pulled up my big girl panties and put the extra food in the freezer for us to eat later next week; then waited to smile when Nebraska got creamed.

But what if you don’t want to put on your big girl panties?

This morning when I woke up, I was immediately smacked in the face with my very real “big girl panties” problem: our rent is being increased significantly. The problem is very complex. We’re trying to move to the Midwest – something I have been waiting to do for about 12 years now. Signing a 10 or 12 month lease (the two options we were given besides month-to-month) will lock us in here for another full year. A lot can happen in a year, and as I said I have been patiently waiting and working towards this for 12 years. It will also increase our rent even at that. Another option is that we pay the month-to-month rate and starve to death. There’s also the fact that this place isn’t even worth what we pay now – we had an attempted break-in a few months ago, my outdoor vase was stolen just last week, and a child of one of the neighbors was kidnapped on the 4th of July. But moving to another place while we buy some more time to figure out the whole Midwest move thing will cost a lot of money and lock us into another lease.

Ugh, I know.

You can see why I don’t want to pull up my big girl panties on this one. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place and in the end the only one that will really be suffering, acting like a big girl, and sacrificing for it is me. I’ll have to stretch the budget to make it work. I’ll have to go another year waiting. It’s very frustrating, to say the least.

So while I do believe that there are a lot of instances when we need to let ourselves upgrade to big girl panties, figuratively speaking of course; I also believe that there may be a time to say “enough is enough.” Is there ever a time when we shouldn’t have to put on our big girl panties? What, exactly, are big girl panties, anyway? I always thought they meant adulthood. Sacrifice. Responsibility. Stuff you do but don’t want to.

But is always sacrificing, never taking risks, and settling for less really living?

The Joys of Apartment Living

Every once in a while, one of my friends or family asks just why we are still living in an apartment. “Why not buy, do the right thing?” they ask, when I then have to remind them that we don’t plan on staying in this palatial California community forever. I don’t want to the run the risk of being stuck. Beyond that, we actually like apartment living to a certain degree. Every time something goes wrong, it’s as easy and free as a maintenance request. There isn’t that notion of being stuck; and if we want to up and leave, we have the luxury of doing so with little hassle.

But then there are the downsides.

Sunday we came home to see that notices had been tacked on the doors, giving a final warning about people that had things stored in their carport spaces (which is forbidden by terms of the lease). This has been going on for some time, which is why I call it a “final warning.” And to be clear, I have no problem with this rule. They outlined it quite clearly in the lease; I’m happy to oblige.

What I take a little offense to, though, is the fact that they go on and on about how much “pride” they take in “the appearance and cleanliness of our community.” You don’t say.

After getting the notice, we went out to do some errands. Grocery store. Toys R Us. Stuff like that. When we got back, I got a few immediate reminders that the appearance and cleanliness of our community isn’t actually something the apartment complex takes pride in. This carport storage thing seems to just be about proving a point.

Exhibit A: Sexy Time at the Toyota truck in carport B. What the hell is this nonsense all over this guy’s car? I get a simple practical joke, but this guy’s car has been like this for ages. Every day, children ride up and down this driveway on their bikes and scooters to see this message of sexy time and dick licking at the Toyota truck in carport B.

“Family friendly community” indeed! In the last few months, this place has become less family friendly and more cesspool quality, with hillbilly brawls, beer cans all over the place, and parties going until 4 o’clock in the morning.

Exhibit B: The un-policing of neighbor infiltrations. Some time ago, I saw that the large gate between our apartment complex and the one next to us had been halfway torn down. To begin with that, it’s an eyesore – much more offensive than people storing things in front of their cars in the carports.

Then one day I was in the laundry room and some people from the unit next to us (they were talking about how nice it is to have a complex close by with more machines, since their complex only had a few) – they took up all the washing machines and dryers, leaving us actual residents to have to do our laundry another time. When I told the complex about it, they said it was not their problem.

Not your problem? Well those neighbor infiltrators have trashed the laundry facility, as well as the swimming pool – to the point that many of us don’t use either anymore.

Exhibit C: Cats and dogs. So I would really love to have a dog. For those of you faithful blog followers that are relatively new, I used to have a dog – his name was Watson. He was only about one when he died; it has been a year and a half since and I’m still not over it.

The apartment complex we live in now does not allow dogs; although, they do allow cats. Almost every unit has a small dog anyway and the complex does absolutely nothing about it. Worse, they do nothing to police the fact that these cats are supposed to be indoor cats for safety, healthy, and sanitary reasons, and yet they allow the cats to roam, constantly with no notices or threats, such as in the case of the carport storage. Being allergic, I take serious offense to other people’s cats hanging out on my porch. They also use our jasmine plant as a jumping toy and shit on our ledge frequently.

Exhibit D: The Carolina Trees. I think Carolina trees are beautiful if – and only if – you keep up with their mess. For two months this summer, the Carolina trees in the apartment complex parking lot were shedding their flowers. Everywhere. Fucking everywhere. And for two months, the maintenance and gardening staff (that work seven days a week – working hard, driving around in their golf carts, talking on the phone, and taking smoke breaks) didn’t do a damn thing.

This meant that every single time someone walked into our apartment during those two months, they were traipsing those flowers in with them. The flowers are sticky and turn black and gross in a matter of minutes. We usually remove our shoes when we come home, but I think it’s sort of rude to ask a guest to take off their shoes all the time. Now that the mess has finally been cleared, it’s time to clean the carpets, which are awful as a result of the Carolina trees.

So you see, there are definitely downfalls to living in an apartment. The noise of other units is a definite drawback as well; although, I still consider these petty annoyances to be minor compared to being permanently stuck as a homeowner in California. And anyway, I’m snarky enough to just take things into my own hands, which I’ve done by responding to their little notice, dropping it into the rent box just this morning:

What joys of apartment living do you encounter, faithful blog followers?